2014-2015 NBA Season Preview: Western Conference

254px-NBA_Logo.svg_This is Part II of my 2014-2015 NBA Preview.

I previewed the Eastern Conference yesterday.  Today I will preview the better, more competitive Western Conference.  Will the San Antonio continue its dominance in the West?  Will the Clippers and Thunder get over the hump?  Only time will tell.

In the meantime, shall we go?

Southwest Division

  1. San Antonio Spurs
  2. Houston Rockets
  3. Dallas Mavericks
  4. Memphis Grizzlies
  5. New Orleans Pelicans

Analysis:  The Spurs are a model of consistency.  They are the defending champs – in historical curb-stomping fashion I might – and I do not see those guys slowing down.  I mean sure Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker are older stars, but as long as Gregg Popovich is still coaching those guys these Spurs will not go the way of the dodo.  The Rockets and Grizzlies are next in line to assume the division throne, but still have to get over that proverbial hump.  Though both are immensely talented and well-coached, Houston can’t defend worth a damn, and the Grizz can’t even score on their own wives.  The Mavs are coached by one of the best in the business in Rick Carlisle.  Dirk Nowitzki is still a star in this league.  And I think Tyson Chandler will be playing with a chip on his shoulder, mainly to dispel reports that he didn’t quit on the Knicks last season.  However, the team old and is playing in the toughest division in the NBA.  If Dallas played in the Atlantic Division, it could easily win it.  New Orleans may be a last-place team in this division, but that doesn’t mean they suck.  The Pelicans are much-improved from last season and may knock on the door of a playoff spot thanks to Anthony Davis leading the way from the paint.

Northwest Division

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder
  2. Portland Trailblazers
  3. Denver Nuggets
  4. Utah Jazz
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves

Analysis:  I think the Thunder should run away with this division, even though they will be without the services of Kevin Durant due to injury for the first portion of the season.  PG Russell Westbrook is more than capable of carrying the mantle for OKC.  As a matter of fact, the rest of the division is frankly not good enough to challenge OKC – even when it is less than 100%.  Portland is still green – good, but green.  Denver, while scrappy and tough, is not nearly as talented as OKC.  Meanwhile, Utah and Minnesota flat out suck.  While both teams have good young players, I will pray for the head coaches for both teams (especially the Wolves’ Flip Saunders).

Pacific Division

  1. Los Angeles Clippers
  2. Golden State Warriors
  3. Phoenix Suns
  4. Los Angeles Lakers
  5. Sacramento Kings

Analysis:  This should be an entertaining division to watch, particularly between the Clippers and Warriors.  Both teams hate each other, and their playoff series last season was beyond epic.  I think the Clippers have a shot to unseat the Spurs if Blake Griffin develops a jump shot.  I also believe the Warriors need to be a bit tougher down in the post to become more of a threat in the West.  Like Portland, the Suns are good – but green.  The sad part was that even though the Suns won 48 games, it did not make the playoffs.  Phoenix would have been at least a third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs last season.  The Lakers are a shell of their former selves, and that does not sit well with Kobe Bryant.  As for the Kings, nothing much to say here.  They are still young, still employ DeMarcus Cousins, and still suck.

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